I am so proud that I have managed to breastfeed Fenny for 16months. Initially I wanted to feed her (if I could) for at least 6 months. When 6 months came I said at least a year. When the year came and went, I didn’t really even notice. I have loved feeding her. The knowledge that you are giving your baby the very best thing, the ability to comfort your baby instantly and the beautiful bond you form are just a few of the amazing things I have enjoyed along the way.
Of course it hasn’t all been a breeze (the accidental biting when drifting off, the scratching, the blocked ducts and the blebs, oh the blebs!) but as a whole I have adored it.
However, the time has come where the accidental nibbling and the tooth scraping are getting too much, and I have also had a nasty bleb and mastitis in the last few weeks. My body needs a break! I have decided to start slowly weaning her, one feed at a time. Here’s how I am doing it:
Cutting out the random feeds:
I started cutting down the random, in-between feeds a few months ago. It was usually at about 4pm when she would try to lift my top up. Distraction worked a treat for this one, so an exciting game or mention of a doggy walking past the window was enough. A few days and she no longer asked for it.
Cutting out the nap time feeds:
This was going to be a little trickier. At the beginning of weaning she was still having a morning nap as well as her afternoon nap half the time. On the days when she woke at 5.30am, there was no way she could make it through to lunchtime. For both naps I was feeding her down (I know, terrible, right!) and letting her sleep on me. She was also waking after 30mins and needing milk to get back to sleep.
This nonsense had to stop, so I started rocking her off instead. This isn’t ideal either, but we will tackle her ability to get herself off to sleep in her cot during the day at another time when she is weaned!
On the first day, the rocking off took about 15mins of wrestling, but she eventually went. I decided that when she woke, that was it – no feeding – nap time was over! She had a few days of only napping for 30mins total all day, and she was really stroppy for a few hours when she didn’t get milk when she woke up, but she got over it. 3 days in and we had completely got rid of all nap time feeds. She no longer expects it when she goes down or wakes up. Yay!
Cutting out the first thing feed.
This was easier than I thought. Instead of bringing her in to bed for a feed first thing before getting up, we turn on the lights and get up for the day as soon as she wakes up. Yes, this sometimes means that we are up at 6am, but it worked a treat.
So where are we now?
We are 2 weeks into weaning and she is now only feeding in the evening before her bedtime routine, and once in the night, at around 4.30am. I think the fact that she is eating more to make up for the milk is helping her sleep better at night. She sometimes wakes at about midnight, but gets herself back off to sleep again. After the night feed, she usually sleeps in for another hour or so, so she is waking a little later now too!
The next step is cutting out the evening feed, and by then, I think my supply will be so reduced, it won’t be worth her while feeding at night. I will keep you posted!